共同基金界在这一问题上分歧明显，有些人嗤之以鼻，有些则截然相反，而这两位的观点则介于两者之间。拉里•皮考斯基和基斯•特劳纳对与Fairholme 基金 (Fairholme Fund) 布鲁斯•贝克维兹的合作非常开心。该基金在整个2007 年业绩斐然，令人钦羡，因此吸引到的资金与日俱增。如果皮考斯基和特劳纳能够不断遴选优势股票并提前发现 Fairholme 在年报中及时提出的问题——恶性银行控股会导致市场震荡——或许他们会像贝克维兹一样被尊奉为晨星 (Morningstar) 十年最佳美国股票经理。
然而，数年前贝克维兹成功地将 Fairholmein 转向以私人交易为侧重的全新发展方向，去年 Fairholme 与对冲基金经理比尔•阿克曼帮助美国购物中心运营商General Growth Properties 摆脱破产的交易便是实例之一。贝克维兹聘请了一位收购兼并专家作为助手，逐步淘汰了皮考斯基和特劳纳的业务。双方达成一致，绝不相互指责，继而分道扬镳。
如今，46岁的皮考斯基和54岁的特劳纳卷土重来。他们新创立的共同基金GoodHaven已于四月正式开业。在最近的一次政府申报中，他们透露基金资产为4，500 万美元。他们的选股体现了Fairholme 的些许传统战略，但根据申报资料，真正引人注目的是他们拥有超过50%的现金资产。他们称，自创立以来现金资产已经有所减少，但比例依然很高。
他们持有最多的是微软（Microsoft）的股票 (MSFT)。特劳纳说：“如果只看新闻，你会认为这些人真是无药可救了。”即使早期来分析微软的股票图表，其股票交易也低于他们整整十年前的水平。上一轮互联网热潮中，皮考斯基和特劳纳选择了规避科技股，他们当时更愿意购买巴郡 (Berkshire Hathaway) 这类稳健的股票。现在，出于相同的考虑，他们正在购入某些科技类公司的股票。
首先，他们认为微软股价的上升并不取决于它能否在手机和平板电脑领域打败苹果。个人电脑依然在计算机市场占统治地位，且在美国和西欧以外的市场增长迅速。“苹果上一季度售出 2，000 万件产品，所有人都为之兴奋不已，”特劳纳说，“但更换个人电脑的数量则为 3 亿台”。别忘了，微软在企业界的地位根深蒂固，将Windows改为其他操作系统成本不菲。微软在办公应用程序领域也占据统治地位，此外它还在Facebook估值暴涨之前前购买了这家社交网络公司1.7% 的股份。微软眼下并不是市场的宠儿，但这两位基金经理认为情况将会有所改变。他们预测，微软每股的收益将从五年前的1.40 美元增至明年的2.85 美元。两人调整了对微软的现金储备，并估计购买微软股票的收益是微软运营收益的七倍。
这二位看好的另一支股票是谷歌【（Google）， (GOOG)】。他们购买时的股价约为 500 美元，最近已升值100 美元。特劳纳说：“我们每天只要想到没有持有足够的谷歌股票就感到懊悔不已。”他说，对谷歌而言，是广告业务成就了这家公司的伟大。不要再对谷歌未能利用安卓吸金而横加指责。皮考斯基说：“这种看法过于简单化。”谷歌提供免费安卓是为了帮助自己进一步拓展在数字广告领域的影响力。更重要的是，它使竞争对手望而却步。在收获井喷式盈利之后，谷歌的股票本月上涨了 20%。如果你每股撤出100 美元现金，而且知道每股很快会有40美元的盈利，那么投资者支付的股票价格就是谷歌运营收益的12倍。“这看起来似乎太低了”，特劳纳说。
这两位投资者所做的唯一的宏观预测是，利率似乎会在未来的某个时间点上浮。但这一点微不足道，除非联合投资公司 (Federated Investors) 在利率开始上涨时给人们带来惊喜。其75%的业务都来自货币市场基金，一直以来他们都免收基金费用且年度总额高达2亿美元，所以至少能够为投资者提供几个基点的利息。皮考斯基和特劳纳认为，持有1亿股优势股票才是真金在握。“很有可能会出现合奏效应”，特劳纳说，“不再豁免费用的同时资产会升值”。过去一年中，该公司的股票升值了 4%。
Some splits in the mutual fund world are acrimonious, some aren't. This one fell somewhere in the middle. Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner were happy working with Bruce Berkowitz at the Fairholme Fund. The fund's record was enviable through 2007, and it was attracting more and more new money by the day. If they continued picking winners and spotting trouble ahead -- Fairholme's annual reports fretted early about toxic bank holdings leading to a market shock -- Pitkowsky and Trauner might also be honored, as Berkowitz later was, as Morningstar's U.S. stock manager of the decade.
But a few years back Berkowitz took Fairholme in a new direction, one emphasizing private deals -- a recent example was Fairholme's deal with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman last year to pull General Growth Properties out of bankruptcy. Berkowitz hired an M&A whiz to help him, and he slowly phased out Pitkowsky and Trauner's work. The two sides agreed not to criticize each other and went separate ways.
Now Pitkowsky, 46, and Trauner, 54, are back. Their new mutual fund named GoodHaven opened for business in April. In a recent government filing, they disclosed $45 million in assets. Their stock picks reflect some of Fairholme's historical strategy, but what really stands out is that the managers were hoarding more than 50% of assets in cash, as of the filing. It's fallen some since then, the managers say, but it's still high.
"The Fed is pushing people to do what they don't want to do," Trauner says, referring as an example to older investors who might buy riskier stocks and bonds to compensate for zero percent interest rates. Stocks might not be overly expensive, he says, but because GoodHaven isn't finding the screaming buys of late 2008, the two are content to wait for possibilities. He deadpans, "We're really skeptical that zero percent interest rates will last forever."
It's one of the few macroeconomic predictions you can get out of them, if you can even call it that. Pitkowsky and Trauner are more likely to read 10-Ks over the weekend than pontificate about global economic themes.
Their biggest stock pick is Microsoft (MSFT). "If you just read the press, you would think that these guys are a disaster," says Trauner. Even easier, pull up a stock chart: Microsoft shares trade below their levels an entire decade ago. But for same reason Pitkowsky and Trauner avoided technology companies during the last boom -- preferring to buy stable businesses like Berkshire Hathaway -- they're buying some tech companies this time around.
First, they say, Microsoft doesn't have to beat Apple in cell phones and tablets for its stock to rise. PCs still dominate the world computing market, and it's a growing market outside of the U.S. and Western Europe. "Everyone's excited because Apple sold 20 million units last quarter," says Trauner. "Well, the PC replacement market is 300 million." Don't forget that Microsoft is entrenched in the business world, where switching from Windows is tremendously expensive. It also dominates office applications. Plus it bought 1.7% of Facebook before the social network's valuation exploded. Microsoft doesn't get any love from the market but these fund managers think that'll change. Its earnings per share can grow from $1.40 five years ago to $2.85 next year, they predict. Adjusted for Microsoft's cash hoard, the two estimate they bought shares for seven times Microsoft's operating earnings.
Another one of their favorites is Google (GOOG). The stock recently ran-up $100 from their purchases around $500. "Everyday we're plagued by the thought that we don't own enough of this stuff, " says Trauner. For Google, it's the ad business that makes the company great, he says. Forget the criticism about not making money with Android. "It's such a simplistic view," says Pitkowsky. The reason Google offers Android for free is because it helps grow Google's wide moat around digital advertising. Most importantly, it keeps competitors out. The stock jumped 20% this month after blowout earnings. But if you take out $100 a share in cash, and understand Google can soon earn $40 a share, investors are paying 12 times operating earnings. "It just seems way too low," says Trauner.
The obvious question for a couple value investors is how two tech stocks make it into their top holdings. Just a decade ago, almost a third of Fairholme's investors left during the tech bubble because they avoided the highflyers. The answer is about price. Google, and certainly Microsoft, don't command outsized valuations. It's also about the sector changing. "A decade ago or longer there was such radical change in marketplace," says Trauner, "it was hard to understand which companies or technologies would persist. Since then there's been tremendous consolidation."
Their only macro view seems to be that interest rates will rise sometime in the future. Its hardly noteworthy, except Federated Investors is a company that will surprise people when rates start rising. About 75% of its business comes from money market funds. It has been waiving fees on the funds to the tune of $200 million a year so it can offer investors at least a few basis points of interest. With only 100 million shares outstanding, that's real money, contend Pitkowsky and Trauner. "There's a good chance it will have a Lollapalooza effect," says Trauner. "The fee waivers go away, and assets increase at the same time." The stock is up 4% over the past year.
After helping lead the Fairholme Fund to superstar status last decade, the two stock pickers might be worth paying attention to.